Snow White’s Rachel Zegler Admits The CGI Made Her ‘Nervous’ Even Before The Backlash Happened Over Viral Photo From Set

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Written By Maya Cantina

Originally planned to release next year, Disney’s live-action Snow White was pushed back to 2025 as part of the release date two-step that was needed when the writers and actors’ strikes pushed a handful of productions back. As such, all we’ve seen from the film is a single image. That image now has many fans worried about the film’s reliance on CGI, and it turns out star Rachel Zegler feels the same way.

Speaking with fellow Disney live-action star Halle Bailey for  Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, Zegler talked about the pressure that comes with making a new adaptation of the first Walt Disney Studios animated feature film. She knows that the expectations for the film will be high, but admits that the heavy reliance on CGI made her nervous, saying…

This is an iconic thing that people really care about. I don’t want to mess this up for anybody, including myself. The writers and Marc Webb and our entire producing team…it’s a bit different story wise. We were able to do ‘Whistle While You Work,’ which made me really happy and excited. I was really nervous more about the technical element. That first-look image went out… and there’s a lot of CGI in the film.

The first look image, as seen above, shows Snow White surrounded by the seven dwarfs, and it’s clear that the Dwarfs are all CGI creations, not human actors. The reaction to the image was not overwhelmingly positive, to say the least. Although the movie had already been the target of many who had a problem with Zegler’s casting for reasons that I’m sure were entirely honest and not at all biased. How the dwarfs were to be handled had been a question from the beginning, with criticism leveled against Disney for even including dwarf characters in the first place, even before the movie went into production.

CGI characters have become common over the last few years. And while the technology is impressive, it’s also easy to see that it hasn’t quite reached a point where those characters look truly real all the time. For Zegler, the reliance on CGI meant that she spent large portions of her time on set singing alone, as there were no other humans in the scene. While she initially was concerned, in the end, it appears she really enjoyed it. She continued… 

Most of that day was spent singing to nothing. I’m sure you also know how that can be. There was a lot of puppetry and CGI in post. It was really intense. There’s a lot of bloopers of me tossing a broom and letting it fall to the ground because that’s apparently how you toss things off to CGI characters. But it’s so much fun!

The more time that digital effects artists have to work on these creations, the better they look. With an extra year in front of Snow White, that time could be spent continuing to fine-tune the work. We’ve certainly seen CGI work in movie trailers that was unfinished, with things having greatly improved by the time the final product was released. Perhaps by the time the movie actually comes out the CGI characters will look better.  

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